Heat Shot Heated Windscreen Washer System review

Heated water effectively clears windscreen of ice, snow, bird dirt, bugs and dirt, keeps washer jets and pipers from freezing, high quality product, easy to fit

Fairly pricy but worth it in the long run

Heat Shot?

Heat Shot Heated Windscreen Washer System effectively clearing snow and ice

For a while now, you’ve been able to option or retro fit heated washer jets on some cars. While they’re a good idea, the main problem is that if the fluid in the pipes behind these gets frozen, they cease to work. Heat Shot have brought out a patented system which can be easily fitted, and eliminates that problem by heating the water near to the source, feeding hot fluid to the jets and onto the screen.

The system isn’t just about clearing frozen screens though, and it’s also used for effectively cleaning those irritating bug splats away, as well as winter road grime and keeping the glass much cleaner, plus reducing the streaking than occurs when cold fluid is applied. While Heat Shot can claim as much as they want on paper, just how good is it? We had the Heat Shot system fitted for review, and to find out what the benefits of having one are we’ve tested it on a couple of different cars.

Test time…

3D model of the Heat shot installed and how it works

3D model of the Heat shot installed, and showing how it works.

 

First off, before installation we were sent a technical information booklet explaining how the system works, what safety cut-outs it has, and what type of testing it’s been through (lots, and extremely vigorous ones too), just to give us peace-of-mind that it won’t effect the running of the car it’s fitted to.

That done, the first question you’ll probably be asking before we go any further is: will it fit my car? Heat Shot say it can be fitted to any vehicle type, so that’s a yes then.

Heat Shot system with two heaters fitted for a longer spray time.

Heat Shot system with two heaters fitted for a longer spray time.

 

After sorting out a kit for test, an engineer from Heat Shot came out to fit the system. This can take a varying amount of time from an hour or so up to a couple of hours. Really, it’s down to how much room there is to fit the kit in the engine bay, as the more packed the area the longer it’ll take.

The Heat Shot system isn’t anything complex to fit. It comes as a complete ‘ready-to-fit’ kit, and it’s simply a matter of mounting the heater unit (size: H: 137mm, W: 100mm, thickness: 43mm) somewhere between the wash bottle and washer jets – the closer to the jets the better – before attaching the inlet and outlet water pipes, plus wiring it up to the battery. That’s the basics, and if you’re confident about stuff like this you’ll not have a problem fitting the system.

There’s also a 24-volt system, which is slightly more complex to fit, but as mentioned Heat Shot can send out an engineer to fit it anyway if needed. One more thing, the washer bottle itself is still susceptible to freezing if you get a cold winter, so you’ll obviously need to use screen wash as well to stop that from happening.

The Heat Shot heated washer system isn’t something simple though, in case you were thinking it was. It’s actually a very technical piece of engineering inside, and can do stuff like monitor the vehicle’s battery voltage constantly (even when it the engine is off) and precisely to make sure it only kicks in when the battery is running at the right voltage once the engine is started, ensuring it won’t drain the battery if it happens to be low.

So the Heat Shot doesn’t use more energy than needed, a sensor monitors the water temperature inside the unit. If it’s cold (like wintertime-cold), then all 3 of its heaters will kick in to warm the water as quickly as possible, and then once it’s up to temperature (57 – 60˚C), occasionally just one heater will come on to maintain that. If it’s warm out, then the system will only use one heater from the get-go.

It takes around 30 – 45 seconds to heat the water inside the unit when the engine is first turned on, and after that you get a 3 – 4 second spray of heated water before it goes cold again. You’ll then need to leave around 20 seconds between sprays for best results.

There are a variety of Heat Shot systems available (one for cars with ‘smart charge’ technology, and a 24 volt Heat Shot system for trucks), and on our first test-bed vehicle we had the ‘Premium Twin Pack System’ fitted. This provides around twice the length of heated water spray time (so around 8 seconds).

After a while of having the system fitted, that car was sold (Heat Shot kit taken out first), and then a single pack was fitted to another regularly-used car, so we’ve actually tested both the single and double pack units.

That’s all the stats and facts out of the way, so how did it do? We’ve tested it over a whole year in a variety of conditions, so let’s run through how it did in these.

Spring/Summertime. You’ll perhaps think that heated fluid isn’t needed in summertime but actually it is. If you’ve ever driven through a swarm of those small insects that leave a million splats all over the glass, you’ll know how hugely irritating it is when you try to clear them, and they cover the whole ‘screen in sticky smears that won’t budge no matter how many times you use the sprayers.

With the Heat Shot system fitted, we found it cleans off the majority of bug smears surprisingly well, and quickly too. It’s the same with bird dirt. If one lands on the glass as you’re driving, it infuriatingly starts to set after just a few seconds, and leads to a smeary windscreen for the rest of the journey. Again though, the Heat Shot cuts right through it without a problem. We found it helps to have a small amount of screen wash added to the water for even better results.

If you park under or near trees, you’ll know just how annoying it is when you come out to your car and it’s covered in sap. Okay, the Heat Shot won’t do anything about the rest of the car, but at least you can get your windscreen clear of the majority of it. Cold water won’t touch sap, and in fact it’ll just make it harder,  so the Heat Shot has a clear advantage yet again.

The guys at Heat Shot mention that they’ve sold the system into Australia, and fitted to mining  vehicles and road trains, where thick ‘red dust’ is a real issue and hard to shift. The Heat Shot system works perfectly for this, and it’s yet another area where it’s handy.

Autumn/winter. As the days grown shorter and the sun sits low for most of the day, vision through the windscreen becomes an eyesore, and that’s even before it rains, when grimy water is thrown up from the cars in front, making vision even worse. To add to that scenario, after salt has been spread that spray then dries quickly on the glass and guaranteed heavy smearing occur as the cold water tries to cut through the thick film of grime.

Heat Shot heated windscreen washer system test - tough ice and snow firmly stuck to the windscreen.

The hot water from the Heat Shot does a far better – and much quicker – job of clearing this, and it also cuts down on smearing too. That makes it easier to see, and therefore safer to drive. In case you’re wondering, with 15 – 20 seconds between heated water coming out, yes the Heat Shot system will put through unheated water too if you do need to clear the windscreen more often.

But then we come to the point where, if you live in a country that gets cold winters, the Heat Shot system really comes into its own for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, we’ve all come out in the morning to find our windscreens unexpectedly frozen over, and we’re in a rush to get to work. The last thing you want to do is get cold, wet and have one painful arm after having to scrape away the ice and snow.  The side windows aren’t bad, and the rear has a defroster, but inevitably you end up leaning over to reach the centre of the windscreen, whereupon your entire front becomes soaked. Oh, and then you end up late for work. Not a good start to the day.

Quickly cutting through ice and snow with the Heat Shot Heated Windscreen Washer System

When it came to photographing and filming the Heat Shot for this review, a bitterly cold morning saw the windscreen iced over, but on top of the ice was a layer of frozen snow, making sure the Heat Shot would be put through its paces for the camera.

As soon as the heated water hit the glass, steam billowing around in the cold air, there were instant results, and you can physically hear the ice and snow crackling as the 60˚C water makes its way underneath and starts to break it up.

 Heat Shot Heated Windscreen Washer System.

Ice and snow completely cleared in just a few minutes.

 

After around five sprays (and 20 – 25 seconds between each) with three passes of the wipers each time, the screen was totally clear aside from a patch of thick stubborn ice at the top of the ‘screen, which came away easily as soon as the edge of a scraper touched it. A totally impressive product!

Heat Shot Heated Windscreen Washer System-0541

I hear some smirking and saying they’ve got a front heated windscreen, so there’s no need for any of that. Brilliant, but that won’t stop your washer jets and their supply pipes from freezing, and you still need to clean your ‘screen. Oh, you use 100% concentrate screenwash? Good-o, personally we’d have a problem paying for using 2o+ litres the stuff each winter.

Some of you have heated washer jets? Again, that’s a good thing to have, but it still doesn’t stop the water freezing in the pipes behind them, and they still don’t pump out hot water to clear the ice and snow.

Any issues?

So, we’ve found that the Heat Shot system works extremely well, rain, sun, or ice, and helps with a variety of other conditions, but are there any issues? A couple.

If you’re going to clear that thick, rigid type of ice and frozen snow from the screen, as soon as you use the sprayers the wipers will start to swipe across, and this can easily damage the rubber blades. There are a fair few cars where you can’t lift them away from the screen because the bonnet sits over them, and that creates the above problem.

In relation to that (this is more of a tip): if you use the sprayers and the wipers happen to be frozen to the glass, you could easily end up damaging the wiper motors, or tearing the rubber blades. So, make sure you de-ice them before use.

Price

We’re based in the UK so we’re showing the price for here. If you want the cost of a Heat Shot system in your country, visit this link.

Prices are: Heat Shot single 12v pack: £179.99. 12v for ‘Smart Charge’ technology: £189.99. 12v Twin Pack: £249.99. 24v HGV/bus system: £399.00.

So, the Heat Shot system isn’t cheap, but is it really worth it? In a word, yes. This isn’t just something that’ll be useful in wintertime, but all year round and you’ll really get good use out of it. Not only that, but it’s also easily transferrable between vehicles should you need to.

I liked having the Twin Pack version for the extra few seconds of heated spray, and that would probably be the one to go for if you live somewhere that gets really cold winters, but otherwise the single pack is fine.

To add: Heat Shot now offer free fitting within the UK, at a time and place of your choosing.

Heat Shot heated windscreen washer system verdict & score

Having had the Heat Shot 12-volt system fitted to a couple of different cars for around 12 months, we can say that it’s a genuinely useful and high quality product. After talking in length to the Heat Shot guys, it’s also clear (no pun intended) that they are passionate about their product, and it shows even in the quality of materials they’ve used for the system.

Yes, it’s a fair old whack of money at first, but you’ll soon forget that side of things after you’ve used the Heat Shot system a few times. Overall, Heat Shot is a great product and one that you’ll soon (rightly) see fitted to more and more vehicles.

Usability  9.5
Price  7.5
Design  9
Quality  9
Overall Score  9.0 / 10

Specs

Kit (as tested)  Heat Shot heated windscreen washer system (12-volt single & Twin pack)
Kit includes  Instructions, 12v Heat Shot unit, all necessary fitting and conversion equipment 
Warranty  3 years
 Fits  Any car or truck with a washer system & 12-volt or 24-volt power supply
Price (Correct: Feb. 2015)   £179.99 – £399.00 (visit your own market for prices). UK includes free fitting.
Features   Provides heated water through washer jets
Buy from  If you wish to advertise here, please leave a comment below with your details (we’re visited by 130 countries worldwide!) 

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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